10-year-old child detained at Bristol airport over FGM fears

A 10-year-old girl from Bristol was prevented from traveling to Djibouti with her family due to fears that she was at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM), the BBC reports.

According to the Bristol City Council, the girl was deemed to be in danger and is subsequently now the subject of an FGM protection order. The girl’s mother, who chose to remain anonymous, told the BBC that they were “treated like criminals”.

A study conducted by the University of Bristol in the summer of 2018 found that FGM-safeguarding authorities often put pressure on families, acting in ways that are in direct violation of their rights as British citizens. The study procured data from 30 Somalis about their experiences with FGM-safeguarding.

According to anti-FGM campaigners, girls being taken out of school before the summer holiday begins is a warning sign due to the concern that FGM will be performed while they are away from school.

Dr. Saffron Karlsen from the University of Bristol stated that “there is a considerable risk at re-traumatising women” who have undergone FGM due to the insensitive manner in which FGM-safeguarding questions are posed.

The girl’s mother told the BBC: “I have a sister who is five years younger than me and she hasn’t had FGM and she is a mum now, she has daughters and even my nieces they haven’t had any FGM so I wasn’t even thinking of that.”

*This article was originally posted on our previous website on 4th July 2019.

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